If water in your nose during swimming leaves you sneezing, with a runny nose, or, worse yet, congested, then you and I have something in common. You will also find my experience with a nose clip useful for your triathlon swim training.
I Love Swimming But . . .
I consider myself a comfortable swimmer. I generally stay calm during pool and open water swims.
I have developed a comfortable, relaxed breathing technique. I exhale through my mouth and nose while my face is in the water. This generally keeps me from taking in much water during the swim. But, there is always some water that gets into my mouth and nose.
The pool water that gets into my nose will invariably result in a runny nose and, occasionally, sneezing over the next few hours.
When I swim in lake water, even the slightest amount of water in my nose will leave me with a plugged nose, making sleeping the next night difficult. I blame it on an allergy to the algae in the lake water.
While a nasal decongestant will help reduce the congestion, I avoid using one until it is absolutely necessary.
In the past, I had tried a nose clip that I dug out of my wife’s gym bag. However, it was more hassle than good since it slipped off my nose after a short time in the water.
Rethinking the Nose Clip
Recently, I came across an article about Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Missy Franklin. The article showed her wearing a nose clip.
This got me thinking.
Since I live near a lake, open water swim training is very accessible. I decided that I wanted to try to solve the problem.
I took to the internet to review various nose clips. It seemed that for every positive review, there was an equally negative one. In most cases, the reviewers with negative comments wrote of the clip falling off their nose. Several even lost their clip during its first use. No brand seemed to have a completely positive review.
In the end, I went to local sporting goods stores, finally finding a clip at a local REI store. I purchased the last unit of the only model that they had, the Tyr Ergo Swim Clip.
Protecting My Investment
The nose clip was inexpensive (around $5) so it wasn’t going to be terrible if I lost it in the lake.
However, I preferred not to have to keep running around shopping for another if I were to lose this one. Remember, my experience with nose clips thus far was that they tended to fall off.
I decided to find a way to keep from losing the clip in the lake. The first attempt was to use some good quality dental floss to secure the clip around my neck (like a necklace). This was similar to the design of the clip that I had borrowed from my wife, except that it used a rubber strap.
The floss was secured to the clip using a loose knot around the bridge of the clip. The knot was smaller than the ends of the clip so that it would not come off – see the inset in the picture in this article whose caption begins with “Here is what worked for me.”
First Open Water Swim
In my first open water swim of one mile, the clip came loose two times, the first time after swimming more than a half mile. Since the process of coming off my nose was relatively slow, I was able to stop and reattach the clip before it came completely off.
The second time, I used the clip in the LA Fitness swimming pool. Again, I found that the floss holding the clip around my neck would catch on my face, occasionally tugging on the clip. I was certain that this is the reason the clip started to come off my nose.
While in the pool, I also found that the nose clip did not sink to the bottom of the pool when dropped in the water. Instead it floated somewhat below the surface of the water. Still, I was not going to give up on securing it.
Second Open Water Swim
The next time, during an open water swim in a nearby lake, I attached the floss holding the clip to my goggles (see picture below). The floss was still the original length; throughout the swim, I could feel the floss dancing around my face, occasionally catching momentarily on my skin and tugging on the clip.
However, over the course of a mile, the nose plug came loose, but not completely off, only once. Progress!
Third Time’s a Charm
Before the next lake swim, I reduced the length of the floss holding the clip to the bridge of my goggles so that it was not brushing against or catching on my face.
The result was exactly as I hoped. The clip stayed on my nose throughout a one mile lake swim. And, more importantly, there was no runny nose or congestion.
If you have problems with water getting in your nose during swimming, the swim clip may be the solution. You can avoid losing it – or worrying about losing it – in the pool, lake, river, or ocean by clipping it to you goggles using a short piece of floss or string.